Beeby Fellowship to create mental health education resource

Katie Fitzpatrick and Kat WellsThe Beeby Fellowship for 2016-2017 has been won by a university researcher and a secondary school teacher, who will collaborate on a mental health education teaching resource for students in Years 7-13.

Associate Professor Katie Fitzpatrick (pictured left), an internationally recognised authority in health education from the University of Auckland, and Kat Wells, head of the health and physical education faculty at Lynfield College, Auckland, have been announced as the co-Beeby Fellows, following a selection process.

The fellowship, worth $30,000, will enable them to write a resource book for teachers on mental health and hauora, which is an area of health education that is currently under-resourced. A recent youth health survey highlighted concerns about depression, deliberate self-harm and suicidal thoughts in the 13-18 age group.

The book will provide practical information for teachers on educating students about resilience, interpersonal skills and wellbeing. It will also help students gain the skills to communicate effectively, reflect on their needs and wellbeing, and develop resilience, stress management tools and anti-bullying strategies.

The Beeby Fellowship was established in 1998 by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) to support innovative educational research. The Fellowship is named after Dr Clarence Beeby who, in 1934, became the first Director of NZCER, and was Assistant Director-General of UNESCO from 1948-49.

The selectors said the proposal stood out for its clear plan and strong connections between the school and the university. This resource covers a topic of huge relevance to schools, and specifically addresses UNESCO’s focus on engaging youth to be responsible and innovative global citizens with an appreciation for different cultural perspectives.